Earlier this year, the German railway giant Deutsche Bahn announced a contest to name its new trains after famous people worthy of commemoration. Proposals streamed in, and a jury of experts selected 25 names. These include Ludwig van Beethoven, Marlene Dietrich, and Thomas Mann. They also include Anne Frank.

The state-owned company is a successor of the Deutsche Reichsbahn, which transported millions of Jews to their deaths, so naming a train after a victim of the Nazis struck some as a very bad idea.

“Now DB is naming trains after victims of deportation by train,” tweeted Bild journalist Julian Reichelt, “starting with Anne Frank.”

Conservative lawmaker Iris Eberl called the decision “tasteless,” and many other on German social media channels agreed.

But the company defended its decision. Anne Frank, said a spokesperson, Antje Neubauer, was a symbol of “peaceful co-existence of different cultures, which is more important than ever in times such as this.”





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